20 Nov 2006

A Happy Start, A Biased Ending


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What makes you happy? What a great topic to start off our Sunday’s English Conversation Skypecast.

It made me, the host, happy to ask everyone in the room—a virtual one reaching Europe, Asia, Mideast, North and South America—to reveal his or her recipe for being happy. The answers I got were quite diverse, ranging from watching birds chirping on the tree (Paulino) to aimless writing (that’s me!).

Surprisingly, everyone said money has anything to do with happiness. Those who did mention money said it’s not that important. I agreed. But, then, who are we to speak on behalf of the rich? None of us in the room has ever been on Forbe’s list of 400 richest people. Do we know for sure that a truck load of money would not make us happier?

Niklas and Janus, the founders of Skype, who made our virtual English practice possible, could offer the view of the rich if they had joined us. (A Dane and a Swedish, do they need to practice their English too?)

When I moved on to a serious topic—Time magazine’s cover story about the Pope’s remark about Islam, no one took it. Either the current Pope isn’t as charismatic as his predecessor, or nobody wanted to comment on Islam. Getting the clue, I quickly lightened up the group to the entertaining topics: the latest James Bond movie and super star Tom Cruise’s wedding in Italy.

Only one guy in the room had seen Casino Royale, so we had little to gamble about the performance of Daniel Craig, the new actor playing the agent 007. But among us, Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan were the favorite Bond men in the past. No one could explain why Brosnan got killed out of the Bond role, after he played brilliantly in Tomorrow Never Dies. I guess we will know someday.

Some people pointed out not all great movies are made in America, and Paulino recommended an excellent Argentine movie called Son of the Bride. The title itself made me curious enough to want to see it.

I thought Tom and Katie’s wedding might stir the room for a lively discussion. Turned out, everyone in the room couldn’t care less. Instead, some wondered why media spend so much time and money covering celebrity, but not the serious matters like war. Then we got really serious, debating about why all media are biased.

Good question. I guess we are all biased people to a certain degree on one matter or another.

Overall, it’s great to have over 30 people joined our Skypecast, and we look forward to meet you next week.

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